"A blog?" What is it…

Blogs: What – Why – Whom?
by Gregory West
A Member of APCUG & SCUG

Blogs live in Cyberspace, but just what is a blog anyway?

Alright, let’s get this out-of-the-way right now…

DEFINE:blog       ”Blog — (weB LOG)  A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger” (www.blogscanada.ca).

Enough tech talk…

Blogs are extremely popular. The newspaper business is smoldering in the aftershock of the Internet. Well let’s face reality here: Newspapers (as we know them) may edit themselves from newsprint to the Internet. However, time will tell for sure. What will be their replacements?

In fact, a recent article in the Globe and Mail newspaper shows us that “newspapers face the greatest crisis in the history of the business.” Globe reporter, David Ebner, goes on to say,  “Every paper is hurting. Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, among others, is freshly dead. Once-unassailable titles such as the San Francisco Examiner teeter.” We are certainly in interesting times.

So, what’s next?

From the United States comes startling statistics (www.pewinternet.org) that “In total, 33% of internet users (the equivalent of 24% of all adults) say they read blogs, with 11% of internet users doing so on a typical day.” In anyone’s books, that is a lot of people who are reading blogs. And there’s more.

Canadians rank near the top when it comes to Internet usage. “Of Canadian internet users, a recent poll suggested that over 42% had read a blog in the previous three months” (wikipedia.org). Canadians love their blogs; surprisingly, we love our political blogs. This may strike a strange note, but former Prime Minister, Paul Martin “kept a widely read blog while he was in opposition” and all political parties maintain blogs. Interestingly enough, “the largest political blog group are the right leaning Blogging Tories with 300 blogs and 3,000 readers on average every day” (wikipedia.org).

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries, while many blogs serve as a political platform. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. Many videos now include video to enhance the text. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Hyper-linking from one blog to another creates a massive spider web on the “information highway”. We can immediately see “the other side of the story”.

Popularity in blogging is growing and no wonder…Newspaper and magazine writers have their own blogs. Newspapers such as the London Free Press advertise their writer’s blogs on the LFP website (www.lfpress.ca/blogs). More often than not, this is where the real “meat” of a story is told. Editors cannot take their scissors to the text…You may even find the “Paul Harvey” version of the story, the “rest of the story” that did not get edited out.

Newspapers world-wide are now facing the question of whether to disband from using newsprint and going strictly online (Internet version) only. The jury is still out on whether this will enhance blogs, making them much more in demand and widely read.

“In March 2008, Universal McCann published a report that indicated 184 million blogs worldwide were created, with 346 million people reading blogs globally (Brian Solis on March 10, 2009).

Most news agency-writers have blogs. CNN, The Detroit Free Press, The New York Times and on and on and on the list goes. David Pogue, a famous Technology writer has a very popular blog that is read by millions (http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com) is called: POGUE’S POSTS. Pogue’s blog is connected directly to the NYT paper’s website as are most other writer’s blogs.

You can easily “google” content that may be found in a blog. For instance, bring up Google Search on your computer or cell phone, or whatever other flavour you choose to get onto the Internet.

Try a google search for a blog…

For instance, bring up your “Google Search”, and in the blank search box type in: barack obama blog. This will take you directly to the blog of the US President. Change out the phrase “barack obama” for anything you are interested, leaving the term: blog. You may never go back…

Welcome to the future; welcome to Cyberspace.

Gregory West is the Editor for “SCUG Report”, a monthly for the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group (www.scug.ca). SCUG is a non-profit computer/technology help group that is open to the public for Newbies and Geeks. Gregory also provides, FREE to the public, Computer – Internet lessons at Central United Church each Wednesday.  Gregory can be reached at gregorywest@sympatico.ca

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